Monthly Archives: February 2011

Horseradish, Apples, and Fish.

Heck, yeah, this is what I want to eat for Lent!

Here’s a sort of Lenten variety plate from a hotel in Austria, with mostly veggies and some fish and eggs. This might be a good way to vary things for your family — let them pick out a little of everything from a plate in the middle. (You could also use up a lot of bits and pieces of veggies and things, this way.)

Interesting fact: the English “to fast” literally comes from the “stick fast” sort of meaning. (The German “fasst”, too.) Fasting is enduring, or sticking to certain restrictions. So you can see how the word easily covers both refraining from eating certain things and certain amounts. In Latin, there’s a clear difference between “jejunium” (“emptiness” – not eating or drinking) and abstinence. But there have always been a lot of qualifiers to define exactly what you’re doing….

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Meagre Dishes”

Apparently, if you’re looking for Lent and fast-day food in oldish French cookbooks, you look for a “meagre dish” (plat maigre). They are either meatless, or meat- and dairyless. These dishes are eaten on a “meagre day” (jour maigre) when you abstain from meat (faire maigre). Things are complicated, though, by the existence of a fish which the French today call “maigre”, and by using that word just to mean “lean”.

The word for Lent is Carême. If you see non-Lent-looking food for “Mi-Carême”, that’s for Thursday in the Third Week of Lent (Mid-Lent, in this French expression), when the French have a big party to celebrate getting halfway over the Lenten hill, so to speak. There was also a famous olden days chef named Careme, so be careful! You could think all sorts of wrong things about what the French ate for Lent!

I’m sure a lot of you folks know this stuff already, but I’m hard-pressed to find useful Catholic search terms, even in languages I’m familiar with! (French and I are practically strangers.)

French Lent recipes in English.

French ideas for Lent food, in French. More French Lent recettes.

Potage de Carême. Soupe des lentilles pour Carême. Paschado. Brioche du Carême.

A poem from Monaco celebrating the stockfish.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lady Llanover’s Good Cookery Illustrated

If you want to read a crazy fun Welsh cooking textbook from 1867, in novel form, and written by somebody who was obviously a HUGE FAN of Gothic literature, this is the cookbook for you. It also includes some other interesting stuff, like an appendix of recipes and the best times to gather and dry herbs. There’s some very unusual food in this thing, like a mince pie made out of currants instead of raisins.

However, since leeks are in season right now, and since St. David’s Day is tomorrow, it’s important to note the recipe for Welsh Leek Soup on page 451. Dried plums (okay, prunes!) are also involved.

Anyway, Lady Llanover has thoughts on everything, including good menus for Lent:

“I should advise,” said the Hermit, “a plain poached egg on toast, without butter; a vegetable soup made of the jelly of bare boiled bones, without eggs and with new milk instead of cream… Meagre soups can be made with well-chopped and fried vegetables, provided they are fried in delicate top fat (which is allowed) instead of butter, so as to be both palatable and wholesome. A plain fruit tart with skim milk, and a plain rice pudding, needs no contrivance; and those who cannot eat simple stewed fruit alone, will find that it agrees perfectly well if mixed with skim or new milk and eaten with bread; but plain boiled or fried fish, with anchovy sauce, the melted butter part of which is prepared in the same way as the parsley sauce melted butter, is simple and innocent, for those who can take any sauce at all; but there are many persons with whom melted butter disagrees, however carefully prepared, and they should avoid it, and eat their fish with only a little salt or a little vinegar. Plain bread and cheese, bread and cold fresh butter where it agrees, water from the spring with hard biscuits….”

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Seaweed for Lent!

Pretty much anywhere in the Christian world that’s close to the sea, seaweed has always been considered an acceptable vegetable for Lent. (Although often it’s too cold and stormy in Europe to gather such things much during the winter and early spring.) They say that foods like seaweed that have a lot of iodine in ’em are good for keeping your metabolism from going too low. Seaweed also is full of fiber, besides having the normal green or dark-green or purple vegetable features. So if you start getting tired of your normal Lent foods, once it starts up, here are some weird veggies to try.

People in Brittany make seaweed butter like most places make herb butter!

Laver (a lot like what’s called nori in Japan) was a big vegetable in medieval/Elizabethan salad recipes, often with an oil and vinegar dressing. The Welsh still boil it down into a sort of pulpy loaf called “laverbread” and fry it like mush for breakfast. Here’s a recipe for laver soup.

Dulse is pretty easy to get in Ireland, Scandinavia, or Atlantic bits of Canada, although it’s more of a summer vegetable. It’s high in protein — higher than chickpeas, almonds, or sesame seeds, depending on how you measure it. It also helps cook beans faster. Here’s a Scottish recipe for Fish Pie with Dulse. Dulse in Iceland, with the funny story of Egil Skallagrimsson’s dulse suicide attempt.

Nori is available in a lot of grocery stores these days, at least the kind for making sushi. Trader Joe’s has that 99-cent package of “Roasted Seaweed Snacks” right now.

Kelp is pretty yummy also. Kombu is not only tasty, but when you cook it with beans, it’s supposed to fight flatulence! (Lots of beans being eaten during Lent, that’s all I’m saying…..)

(Hijiki is high in calcium. So if you’re fasting from “lacticaria” or “cheesefare” during Lent, this would be a good seaweed to eat. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of it grown wild in Japan is also high in arsenic, which lends a whole new perspective to the idea that hijiki makes your hair shiny and your complexion good. Ehem. So if you eat it, for goodness’ sake don’t eat much, eat it dry, and don’t drink anything much before or after eating it.)

Here’s a good site about Irish customs, including a recipe for pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and Lenten customs. On the east coast of Ireland, it was common to eat nothing but shellfish and seaweed for dinner on Good Friday. This was called “bia tragha”, shore food.

Seaweed recipes from a seaweed company’s website!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Switzerland Says No to Forced Matrimony

Switzerland has passed a new law criminalizing all marriages to minors (defined as “under 18”) and all forced marriages, wherever contracted. Once you enter Switzerland, they have the right to prosecute the forcer and free the force-ee. The responsible person will get an all-expense-paid vacation in a nice clean Swiss jail for five years.

This might be a tad inconvenient for a few folks from early-marriage states (which seems to be most US states these days — I had no idea!), but I think the sixteen and seventeen-year-olds will put up with not visiting Switzerland for the sake of freeing unfortunate young women from bondage.

(You can marry at 15 in Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming, but there’s tons of parental consent required — and often the consent of a court or other body. In New Hampshire, you can be married at the age of 13 (girls) and 14 (boys). Some states don’t seem to have minimum ages, which seems… problematic… these days.)

I’m not knocking early marriage — my grandmother married young in a quick trip to Kentucky — and it’s certainly better than sleeping around and making your kids illegitimate. But holy cow, the stuff that happens when your back is turned.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Will the Kindle Be Free?

Obviously, the real money for Amazon is in getting a near-monopoly on e-books. They’ve already provided free reader apps for computers and such. But the numbers guys think that, pretty soon, they’ll be giving away the Kindle just to encourage everybody to buy e-books.

Given the number of middle-aged and older adults (like my parents) who still aren’t on the Internet, and given that a lot of older adults are big book buyers, giving away a wireless device may be the only way for Amazon to creep their way into that market. It might also allow existing magazines and newspapers to switch over to electronic publishing altogether (though they really need cheap photo rates on color Kindles, then!). If older readers can use their own choice of font sizes, that might repay them for the anxiety and annoyance of using an electronic device. Maybe. (I still suspect that at some point, corporate America will just abandon those who don’t like computers and the Internet.)

If this is the plan, what I said earlier this week about Amazon wanting to hold onto Amazon Prime physical customers by giving them freebies is even more important. And lookie here. Amazon may be giving away Kindles to Amazon Prime customers. (If they give them to everyone, that means existing Kindle owners will have one to give away.)

In many ways, the Kindle is “crippleware”, particularly with its absurdly high prices for publishers who want to use photos or illustrations beyond the cover. But if it’s cheap enough, people who’ve held back till now will be okay with that. Also, if Kindles are “free”, you can bet that sales of competing devices will drop.

Well, don’t hold your breath or anything. But if you’ve held off buying a Kindle this long, you might want to hold off a little longer.


Filed under Uncategorized

Howsabout All That Rain Last Night?

You look at the Doppler map, and it’s still all blue. 🙂 But it’s cleared up a lot, compared to last night and early in the morning. I’ll probably go to work a little early to avoid Storm Part III.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Day of Rest Argggh

For whatever reason, I was overwhelmingly tired this morning. I went to bed late, admittedly, but not that late. I woke up with a good six hours, and was still hugely sleepy.

By which I mean that I fell asleep in the middle of eating breakfast. Luckily, my breakfast was a potato. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.)

So I woke up an hour later with a half-eaten potato, decided that my chances of catching the bus up the hill were small, and then decided it would be better to eat the rest of the potato, sleep in an extra hour, and just walk up the hill. Which is what I did. It wasn’t too cold or damp this morning, so it worked out. But I was still very very tired.

So when I got home from church, I slept another three hours, including a doozy of a nightmare which (unlike the overwhelming majority of my dreams) I can remember perfectly. And I’m still tired, and the shadows under my eyes look worse than our little pope’s, even. Seriously, it looks like somebody slugged me, and then gave me a tattoo the color of a really nasty bruise. I haven’t even been doing anything to my poor eyes!

So now I have to find something to eat. I should be hungry by now, given that I’ve walked a couple miles and sung for choir, even if I did eat a small cinnamon roll and drink an orange juice after church. But I’m not really hungry at all – just sleepy. Sleeeeeeeepy.


Filed under Uncategorized

Lloyd Schofield Hates the Covenant

San Francisco, land of alleged tolerance and real discrimination, is now the home of an effort by supposed “civil rights advocates” to outlaw Judaism. Not to mention parental medical choices according to normal US custom.

Under San Francisco’s proposed law, nobody would be allowed to circumcise any male under 18, regardless of parental permission. The circumciser or mohel would be subject to a year in prison and a $1000 fine.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is all in favor of abortions, tattoos, and piercings on minors without parental permission, not to mention legalization of psychotropic drugs, polygamy, sex with minors, using public parks as public bathrooms, female ‘circumcision’ (because it’s multicultural!), and every other form of filth. All religions are to be legal there — except traditional ones. Everything goes — except doing what’s right.

It’s happened before. Remember 1st Maccabees?

“The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country… profaning Sabbaths and feasts; defiling the sanctuary and everything holy; building altars, shrines and temples for idols; sacrificing pigs and unclean beasts; leaving their sons uncircumcised; and prostituting themselves to all kinds of impurity and abomination; so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it. Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death… Yet there were many in Israel who stood firm… they chose death rather than… profanation of the holy covenant….”


Filed under Uncategorized

Two Useful Books by Fr. Thomas Livius

Yeah, I know I never got around to inputting much of that book, and I don’t know why nobody’s just gone ahead and scanned The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Six Centuries, since it’s so far out of print it’s not funny. (Anybody but the people selling CDs and DVDs full of scanned Catholic books, anyway.)

For some reason, Worldcat has listed the 1893 Benziger edition as “thesis/dissertation”. Thus, it’s a pain in the butt to pull it out of the records.

But your man Fr. Livius has a couple of books online in handy scanned form:

Mary in the Epistles; or, The implicit teaching of the Apostles concerning the Blessed Virgin contained in their writings. Illustrated from the Fathers and Other Authors with Introductory Chapters. 1891. 310 pp.

S. Peter, Bishop of Rome; or, The Roman Episcopate of the Prince of the Apostles. Proved from the Fathers, History, and Archaeology, and Illustrated by Arguments from Other Sources.

He also translated Liguori’s Explanation of the Psalms and Canticles of the Divine Office in 1887. (There’s another English translation by Grimm, which came afterwards.) It’s not online, but reprints are available.

Other books by the man:

The order of corporate reunion, 1882. 31 p. A reprint from The Irish Ecclesiastical Record.

A brief memoir of the Rev. Fr. John Baptist Lans, C.SS.R., 1890.

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour: A manual of devotion for every day in the month by Henri Saintrain. Trans. by Livius, 1886.

Father Furniss and his work for children, 1896.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cornelius a Lapide: The Great Commentary

Some Jesuit dude named Cornelius a Lapide did a big ol’ commentary on the whole Bible. “All these commentaries are on a very large scale. They explain not only the literal, but also the allegorical, tropological, and anagogical sense of the sacred text, and furnish a large number of quotations from the Church Fathers and the later interpreters of Holy Writ during the Middle Ages. Like most of his predecessors and contemporaries, a Lapide intended to serve not only the historical and scientific study of the Bible, but, even more, the purposes of pious meditation, and especially of pulpit exposition.” It was originally written in Latin, of course, to allow a worldwide audience.

Bits and pieces of it are available online for your convenience. There’s a page that includes little bitty pieces but advertises itself as being the whole schmole, for example. Given the page counts below, you can see that they were only using the summary material. The New Testament commentaries are a lot more available than the OT ones.

However, U of Toronto has scanned in many of the volumes as translated into English by Thomas W. Mossman and W.F. Cobb, albeit with their oft-incredibly-crappy cataloguing. Unless noted otherwise, all editions have the same page count. (Mossman left out some “technical material” from his translation which Loreto Publications added back in; so if you’re wondering why Loreto Publications claims their mostly-reprint edition to be the first translation into English of Lapide’s gospel commentaries, that’s why.)

S. Matthew’s Gospel, Chapters 1-9, trans. Mossman. 1887. 379 pp.

S. Matthew’s Gospel, Chapters 10-21, trans. Mossman. 1889. 435 pp. 1908 ed.

S. Matthew’s Gospel, Chapters 22-28; S. Mark’s Gospel complete. Trans. Mossman. 1891. 448 pp.

S. Luke’s Gospel, trans. Mossman. 1892. 528 pp. 1908 ed.

S. John’s Gospel, Chapters 1-11, trans. Mossman. 1887. 416 pp. 1908 ed.

S. John’s Gospel, Chapters 12-21, and Epistles of John 1, 2, and 3, trans. Mossman. 1892. 516 pp. 1908 ed.

1 Corinthians, trans. Cobb. 1908. 408 pp.

2nd Corinthians and Galatians, trans. Cobb. 1908. 360 pp.

Volumes in Latin of Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam:

Paris 1891 edition, all divvied up into volumes and chapters and everything. Digitized by the New Leon university in Mexico.

Vol. 2: Joshua, Judges, Ruth; the 4 Books of the Kings (today, Samuel and Kings); Chronicles; Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, and Maccabees. Naples, 1854. 903 pp. Nice lectionary index in back for all volumes.

Vol. 6: The Major Prophets. Naples, 1856. 1276 pp.

Vol. 7: The Minor Prophets. Naples, 1857. 760 pp.

Vol. 8: The Four Gospels. Naples, 1857. 1010 pp.

Vol. 9: S. Paul’s Epistles. Naples, 1858.

Vol. 10: Acts of the Apostles, the Canonical Epistles, and the Apocalypse (Revelation). Naples, 1859. 1154 pp.

Antwerp edition, 1694, at the University of Madrid, over at the Hathi Trust:
Book of Wisdom.
Song of Songs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Ite Ad Thomam” Out-of-Print Library

Other than U of Toronto, Catholic universities have been very slow to scan their formidable collections of library books now in the public domain. Very slow. Slooooooow. And of course, a lot of seminaries, orders, and similar institutions threw out books rather recklessly in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties, so some of them don’t have the old books around at all. There are a lot of reprint houses, of course, and a lot of universities with books you can visit, but first you have to know what you’re looking for and what is authoritative and useful. Nobody can reprint everything. Moreover, some of those big ol’ tomes aren’t easy to scan.

The odd result is that a lot of collections of formerly-famous, now-obscure, theological books on CD are still kicking around in the Catholic world, well after most people have been able to trust to the Internet Archive (or even to “borrowing” e-versions of books from its new Open Library).

The Ite ad Thomam Out-of-Print Library is a particularly big one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Foods That Naturally Contain Melatonin

Foods that naturally contain melatonin:

oats, rice, sweet corn (big time!)
tomatoes, bananas, daikon (Japanese radish), ginger

tiny amounts:
pineapples, apples, oranges, strawberries, kiwis, spinach, peppers
almonds, sunflower seeds, fennel seeds, lemon verbena, green cardamom

Foods that naturally contain tryptophan.

The sap and seeds of lettuce are actually a pretty strong sedative, if you manage to ingest enough of it. (Don’t tell schools, or there’ll be no salad in the school lunch for you, kiddies!) 🙂

You don’t need some stupid brownie laced with melatonin.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Actually, It’s Probably More Dangerous to Adults.

Stupid people in stupid bong shops are apparently selling brownies full of melatonin to people who can’t figure out how to buy regular melatonin in the drug store’s vitamin aisle. So the schools are warning parents not to let kids buy melatonin brownies, because melatonin is dangerous to kids.

1. Melatonin isn’t a narcotic sedative. You apparently can’t overdose on it, per se, although you can get weird side effects (and the more you take, the more likely to get them). Light on your eyes makes it break down, anyway; so unless the kids are sleeping in complete darkness without nightlights, there’s nothing to worry about.

2. Really young kids apparently have huge levels of melatonin at night, much more than adults could even dream of. Kids from 18 months to 6 years old have between 60 and 100 mg in their blood, and older kids are at 35 or 25 mg. This is why kids and teenagers sleep so soundly.

These brownies have 7.8 mg of melatonin in the whole thing, which is supposed to be two doses of melatonin for adults. But as you see, that dose is a quarter or less than half of what kids normally produce all by themselves for normal sleep. And heck, in the usual contrary fashion of kids’ meds, those kids who take melatonin pills can actually end up with sleeplessness or hyperactive behavior as a side effect. So it’s very unlikely that kids are going to brownie themselves unconscious. Adults, not so much.

3. Melatonin is “dangerous to kids”, only in the sense that it’s stupid to give growing kids melatonin and maybe mess with their brain’s natural workings. (Unless they have the nastier side-effects — about which, see below.)

4. People prone to seizures, including kids, often have increased seizures as a side effect to taking melatonin. So that really is dangerous and undesirable.


Filed under Uncategorized